The following is an op-ed from Health Minister Randy Delorey.
A year ago, we shared with Cape Bretoners a plan to change the way health care is delivered in Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM), to better meet the needs of patients and families, and to attract more doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals to the area.
This $500-million-plus plan includes a new building at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital for a larger emergency department and a new critical care unit and cancer care centre; it will see an expanded emergency department at the Glace Bay Hospital and new community health centres and long-term care facilities to replace the aging Northside General and New Waterford hospitals, which remain open until the new facilities are completed
This week, the first design tender of the project was awarded for the expansion at the regional hospital. Preliminary site work is underway.
Some people are excited about the CBRM health-care redevelopment plan, while others are worried. I understand that. One way we are addressing these concerns is by actively involving Cape Bretoners in the work.
The project team – led by Cape Bretoners — has met with hundreds of doctors and other health-care professionals and dozens of community groups, from community health boards and service clubs to business leaders and advocacy groups.
A group of patient and family advisors has also joined the project team. These are local people who were asked to represent their communities and bring their voices to the planning table.
Together, these community members, health-care professionals, community health boards and community groups will ensure that we have health-care services and infrastructure in place that work for Cape Breton.
That means replacing aging buildings with modern facilities that not only meet people’s health-care needs but are places where doctors, specialists, nurses and other health-care professionals want to practice. That will make recruiting doctors and other professionals more attractive.
This work is not going to happen overnight. It’s a multi-year project that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Redesigning and rebuilding the health-care system in CBRM will be the single biggest health-care investment in the island’s history. It will also create thousands of jobs during the construction phases.
I’m proud of the progress so far but we must keep moving so we can achieve a modern, high-quality health-care system in CBRM.
We’re close to announcing locations and other details for the new, modern medical and long-term care facilities in New Waterford and North Sydney, and the new laundry facility in North Sydney . The tender for the Glace Bay Renal Project, which includes a new, six-chair satellite renal dialysis unit, was awarded to a local company and construction will begin this summer. And in the fall we will issue a call for proposals for the design work on the expansion of the Glace Bay Hospital emergency department.
I’m optimistic about the future. I hope Cape Bretoners can be too, and I appreciate your patience as we all work together to deliver a better and brighter health-care future for Cape Breton.